Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Kitchen Tip Tuesday

Pack your lunch as you clean the table.

The King and I both bring a lunch to work every day. 90% of the time our lunches consist of leftovers. I used to just dish out my lunch in the morning, but now I am finding I don't have time to do this with the normal morning chaos. On top of that the king refuses to dish out his own lunch in the morning. Apparently it is more important to him to watch 30 minutes of golf tv at 6 a.m. than it is to pack a lunch. I used to have the attitude that if he didn't want to make the effort to pack his own lunch then he can starve. However this theory went out the window when I ended up throwing leftovers in the trash because they were never eaten.

Now I pack lunches as I clear the table after dinner. Everything is portioned into individual servings. I also portion out any sides or extras like buns, chips and cut up vegetables. Each "meal" is stacked neatly in the fridge (I even include the stuff that doesn't need refrigeration so everything is in one spot) so all we have to do is grab a stack and go.

Another lunch tip: When making a big batch of soup\chili, freeze the leftovers in individual servings. They will last in the freezer for a long time and are perfect for the days there are no other leftovers in the fridge.

Check out more tips at Kitchen Tip Tuesday!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Using what I have for dinner...

I have been on a mission the past few weeks to use the food I have at the house and not waste anything. I am trying to shave some $$$ from my grocery budget and this should be the easiest way - quit throwing money in the garbage!

This past weekend I was pretty successful:

French Bread
Thursday I purchased a loaf of french bread at the grocery store to top our French Onion soup. Yes, I could have made the bread a lot cheaper, but I am still not set up to do a lot of baking yet (or to make a huge mess in the kitchen). Friday night I used the bread again for French Bread Pizzas.
Saturday there was still bread left (and very dry) so I cubed it up and made a breakfast casserole for Sunday morning. I was able to also use the leftover green peppers and mushrooms from pizza toppings also. It wasn't a huge casserole, but it was perfect for the king and I. An added bonus: I used up the eggs in my fridge.

Whipped Topping & Milk
I had a container of whipped topping in my fridge. I remember purchasing it two weeks ago, but I don't remember why. We only used a few spoonfuls of it at the time. I also ended up with 3 gallons of milk in my fridge this week - and one of them is approaching the expiration date. I found a box of pudding mix and made "Candy Bar Pudding". Vanilla pudding, whipped topping, heath bar pieces (left over from my holiday baking inventory that never happened) and chopped up chocolate chips. The girls thought I was a culinary genius.

Chipotle peppers
I love these things, but since I normally only use 1-2 peppers per recipe, the rest of the can usually goes to waste. I originally opened the can for Black Bean Soup that I made the weekend before. Saturday I made a crock pot full of baked beans and added a big pepper and some adobe sauce to the mixture (Bonus: I also threw in some leftover chicken meat to the beans). Sunday I made White Chicken Chili and added two peppers to that also. I still have two peppers left in the fridge so I am trying to figure out what I can add them to. This may be a bit of a challenge since most of our meals this week are not really spicy. (Chipotle spaghetti anyone?)

Here are my plans the next few days to use what I have:

I have a little bit of french onion soup left and no bread. I am going to pull out the onions and fry them up and use them as a topping on my French Dip sandwiches on Tuesday.

With the leftover roast from our French Dip sandwiches I am going make a casserole with beef, barley and any other vegetable I can find.